Tampa Clergy Abuse Lawyer

May 7, 2022 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman

Survivors of clergy abuse may experience numerous psychological impacts that can last a lifetime. They include anxiety and depression. In addition to psychological effects, abuse can cause various physical impacts. You can hold a clergy member accountable for their actions that resulted in such issues. Our Tampa clergy abuse lawyer can help you in fighting for justice. We get that coming forward to talk about your experience can be overwhelming.

Our lawyers can ensure that you feel comfortable and safe discussing your case details. The clergy member and institutions that may have covered their actions should pay restitution for their actions. Even if you experienced clergy abuse years ago, there may be options to recover damages. Once you consult your lawyer, they can review your case and outline these options.

Understanding Clergy Abuse

Clergy abuse refers to situations where a clergy member takes advantage of their leadership position and people's trust in them to exploit and sexually assault their followers. Priests, deacons, bishops, nuns, cardinals, and other church officials are grouped under the term ‘clergy.' Oftentimes, victims of clergy abuse are children.

The abuse of a minor usually refers to the deliberate physical or mental abuse of the child. It is often sexual in nature. Children do not have the capacity to give consent to sexual relations. The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) outlines the different types of sexual abuse. They include exhibitionism, touching, or having sexual relations.

Any digital communication that is sexual also constitutes sexual abuse. Perpetrators of sexual abuse use their position of power as the major tool of exploitation. It also affects adults. Any unwelcome sexual advances from a clergy member constitutes abuse. You have the right to seek justice if you were abused as a child or as an adult by a clergy member.

Consulting a Clergy Abuse Lawyer From Our Firm

Choosing to pursue legal action against the clergy member that exploited you is brave. But, you may wonder how the process works and where you need to start. A lot goes into filing a case against an abusive clergy member. But, you don't have to spend sleepless nights wondering about it. A Tampa clergy abuse lawyer on our team can help you make sense of it all.

The perpetrator may face criminal charges under the criminal justice system. But, that does not bar you from pursuing civil action. This is where you file a lawsuit against the responsible party. If your case is successful, they will pay compensation to cover your losses. Losses may include medical costs for current and future treatment for the injuries you sustained. Injuries may be physical, psychological, or emotional.

Sexual abuse can leave you with bruises, broken body parts, or an illness. Compensation will cover treatment costs for any of these. Clergy abuse may leave you with trauma that greatly affects your life. Compensation can cover the cost of seeking therapy. However intangible, you can receive compensation for the resulting pain and suffering. Our clergy abuse lawyer can guide you through the process of filing a civil suit.

Our Firm Can Conduct Investigations to Help Build Your Case

Once you reach out to our attorneys, you will have to provide some details on your case. These details will help determine strategies to use to help you fight for compensation. Going against powerful institutions like well-established churches requires you to have a strong case. To build your case, your lawyer may use the details you provide and further investigations.

So, our clergy abuse attorney may ask you for more details concerning your case to help get the facts straight. Investigations may include talking to witnesses and getting their statements. Other congregants may have seen or heard something about your abuse. Or, someone who is not a member of the church may know something. The accounts they give may help in creating a strong case that helps you get compensation.

Investigations may also include the collection of medical evidence. After suffering sexual abuse at the hands of a clergy member, you may have sought medical assistance. The evidence that medical professionals collected during your checkup will be significant in building a strong case. Medical evidence may include blood, saliva, hair, and semen. Your lawyer can collect the relevant evidence to help prove your claims against the clergy member.

Reaching a Settlement Agreement in Hillsborough County, FL

Your lawyer can provide you with all the information about your case. This includes details about the various legal avenues you can use to pursue justice and the relevant statute of limitations. There are various limitation periods depending on your case. For example, Florida Statute § 95.11(7) outlines you generally have four years to bring a case from the time you discover a relationship between your injury and the abuse.

Ultimately, control of the case remains in your hands. This means that you can choose how we should deal with your case. One such option is negotiating a settlement agreement with the diocese in which your exploitation occurred. If the negotiations are successful, you receive compensation. Instead of settling, you may choose to take the case to court. Your lawyer can prepare you for what to expect.

They will also defend your case to help you recover compensation. The evidence they collected will be key in court proceedings. The court may then award you a compensation amount. In some cases, depending on the nature of the abuse, you may receive punitive damages. These are additional damages to economic and non-economic ones. They are meant to punish the perpetrator and discourage others from committing the same atrocities.

Consult Our Tampa Team Today

Culprits of clergy abuse should pay restitution for exploiting the trust of their congregants through abuse. You can help ensure that happens by filing a civil suit or a claim against the responsible party.

A legal professional from Dolman Law Group can walk you through the whole compensation process. Know your legal options by calling us today. Check out our case results to get an idea of what our lawyers achieve for clients.

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13513 Prestige Pl. Suite 102
Tampa, FL 33635
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Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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